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7 Must-do Farm and Food Experiences in Durango
Drive the winding mountain roads beyond Durango and you’ll find pastures of happy cows, sheep, goats, and alpacas enjoying the summer sun. In the Animas River Valley, ‘farm-to-fork’ isn’t the next big restaurant craze - it’s a way of life. Behind every rich field of produce is a farmer you can thank.
After generations of loving and working this land, southwestern ranchers are opening their farm gates to visitors and inviting you to experience something real, simple, and amazing. Agritourism is about more than seeing life on the farm. It’s a chance to roll up your sleeves, get your hands dirty, and show appreciation for the generations of hardworking souls who made life possible in southwestern Colorado.
Choose a vacation that celebrates life outside the city limit signs. Visit a world where the sales reps are family members and marketers are nextdoor neighbors. Replace the rat race with wide open spaces framed by mountain ranges - you’ll realize that not much has changed in this homesteading state. These are our 7 must-do agritourism experience in Durango, Colorado.
Tour James Ranch
Vibrant gardens, rolling pastures, an artisan market, and one fantastic on-site grill are just some of the spectacles that await at James Ranch. A family-run and fully operational ranch just north of Durango, James Ranch champions sustainability and ethical sourcing as much as family and community.
During your visit, take a self-guided stroll or spend a few hours with the ranch founders, Kay and Dave James, on an official ranch tour. You’ll pass through the green terraces, and milking parlor to the chicken coop, baby goat pen, and market garden. The James’s will guide you through green pastures to meet the cattle, hens, turkeys, pigs, and through the inhouse artisan cheese making facility.
On sunny days, you’ll enjoy the best a la carte meals at the Harvest Grill. Explore the onsite Market, which provides everything from raw milk cheeses, grass fed beef, pastured pork and eggs to vegetables, flowers, jams, ice cream, and more.
It’s hard not to fall in love with the land, animals, plants, and multi-generation family who runs the James Ranch. You’ll come for the market, but stay because it feels like home.
Visit the Durango Farmers Market
You’ll hear the live music and smell the fresh baked goods all the way from Main Avenue. The Durango Farmers Market, held every Saturday from the parking lot of TBK Bank, is a community-favorite event.
For locals and visitors alike, the Farmers Market offers the opportunity to meet, connect, and learn from local farmers in the area. Beyond fresh and delicious produce, you’ll find all kinds of organic and grass fed meats, cheeses, eggs, coffee, juices, and artisan goods. Discover the southwestern chilis our region is known for, as well as wild and cultivated mushrooms, herbs, and spices.
If it can be grown or made with love, you’ll find it at the Durango Farmers Market.
Dine locally at the Turtle Lake Refuge
The Turtle Lake Refuge celebrates food that can be harvested in the wild. At lunchtime, expect to enjoy locally found or grown raw lunches from an ever-changing menu. The team strives to minimize the number of resources in the food supply chain, by transforming wild ingredients into unbelievably delicious entrees. No two days at the restaurant are the same, but the quality is consistently excellent. Serving up meals like nettle mushroom soup, zucchini linguine, cauliflower tabouli, and wild rose avocado chocolate pudding, Turtle Lake has turned food into an experience.
Find them at the Farmers Market, if only to watch the Turtle Lake Refuge bicycle-powered juicer in action. Who knew dandelion or wheatgrass juice could be made so delicious?
Spend Friday nights at Fox Fire Farms
You don’t need a special occasion to sip wine at the Fox Fire Farm, but Friday nights offer an exceptional good time. Located just down the road in Ignacio, Fox Fire Farms is a high-altitude vineyard and the only commercial winery in the Durango area. On the 910 acre ranch, you’ll find wine by the glass, a tasting room, and freedom to roam and play. On Friday nights, its best to kick back, listen to live music, and watch the sun go down with a charcuterie board from the back porch menu.
Meet the herd at the Pleasant Journey Alpacas farm
Stunning LaPlata Mountain views and a herd of happy, curious alpacas await your attention at the Pleasant Journey Alpacas farm. The 35 acre ranch welcomes visitors to shop the store, meet the family, and interact with these friendly creatures. In the shop, you’ll find premium handcrafted alpaca rugs, socks, yarns, stuffed animal, yarn, scarves and more.
Show appreciation for our Farm-to-Fork restaurants
Mahogany Grill, with its rich Victorian decor and immersive dining experience, strives to source from not only local places, but family-owned farms and ranches. At Seasons, the culinary team is gifted in transforming local ingredients into culinary experiences. The menu changes with the seasons and the restaurant only sources the most premium, high quality local produce. Perhaps one of the best fast casual restaurants for lunch, Zia Taqueria is leading the way in building a local supply chain in southwestern Colorado. Celebrating a belief in “simple, tasteful, authentic food,” Zia delivers in every way.
Spend the night at a working ranch
The Colorado Trails Ranch is an all-inclusive dude ranch with dining, fishing, horseback riding, and year round activities. Stay in your own cabin, dine as a family, learn some western dancing, and spend irreplaceable time with your loved ones as you sit around the campfire.
The Blue Lake Ranch sits on 200 secluded acres, with access to a private spring-fed lake for fishing, close hiking trails, and a beautifully landscaped garden. You’ll find it hard to leave this haven of southwestern culture.
The River Bend Ranch offers cozy cabins and RV hook-ups along the outskirts of the lake. A beloved wedding venue destination, the River Bend Ranch is just five miles from historic downtown. Find scenic, intimate views and watch the Durango-Silverton train as it passes by daily.